During the campaign period for the 2016 presidential elections in the Philippines, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte made a lot of promises, including providing assistance to the agricultural sector. It seems that he is making good on those promises now that he has been elected as president.
According to Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Manny Piñol, the moment he was assigned by Pres. Duterte for the post, he sought to travel across the country in what he calls as “Biyaheng Bukid” so he could personally speak with the farmers to ask for their opinions and input. He also wanted to learn more about the farmers’ actual experiences in working the fields as well as their interactions with previous administrations.
Piñol set out to dialogue with the farmers and started with the Mangyan community in Mindoro which happens to be among the country’s largest agricultural islands.
Piñol was saddened at the plight of many farmers who told him that they felt like it was difficult for them to ask for help from the government. When they do get help, assistance comes delayed—possibly for many, many months.
To make things right with these farmers, Piñol not only listed the names of the farmers who needed assistance, he also promised to deliver the items they needed as soon as possible. According to the Secretary, the DA still has some equipment in its inventory and these will be released to the identified farmers soon.
But whereas in the past there was an indiscriminate distribution of equipment, the ones to be released now to farmers are going to be geo-tagged. The DA will also keep a database of the recipients for easy monitoring of the equipment later on.
Aside from providing the farmers with the much-needed equipment, they will also be given orientation and training.
Read the full text of Secretary Manny Piñol’s Facebook post:
MINDORO GETS FIRST TASTE OF NEW GOVERNANCE STYLE
Mindoro, the large island just off the coast of Batangas with vast agriculture and fisheries potentials, gets a first taste of the governance style of President Rody Duterte when the Department of Agriculture holds its first “Tapatan: Gobyerno at Masa.”
Unlike the usual government caucuses, however, the Mindoro engagement will be marked by the delivery of machineries and equipment, including motorized small fishing boats which were requested during my earlier visit to the island last month.
Three weeks ago, shortly after President Duterte named me as his Agriculture Secretary, I launched a nation-wide journey which I called “Biyaheng Bukid” which brought me to the two provinces of Mindoro.
I saw the vast potentials of Mindoro especially in rice production because of its water resources flowing from the mountain ranges of Mt. Halcon which separates Occidental from Oriental Mindoro.
In my informal talks with the farmers and fisherfolk, I found out that somehow they felt that it was very difficult to ask for help from government and that if assistance ever came, it took a long while before it is delivered.
So on July 6, after my engagement in Los Baños, Laguna with the rice sector stakeholders, I will proceed to Mindoro by taking the fast craft from Batangas Port.
I will proceed to a Mangyan community and hold a face-to-face consultation with members of the tribe who have largely been marginalized and neglected.
Actually, my decision to spend the night in Barangay Matula-tula, Pola town was spurred by the conversation I had with a Mangyan farmer who waited for me in Magsaysay town until 9 p.m. just to tell me what they wanted to get from government.
You know what he asked me? Just a road leading to the village, work animals and seeds.
I was touched because I have heard that same story many times before when I was Governor of North Cotabato.
His story is the story of many other poor Filipinos dreaming of the day when government would be able to touch their lives.
These are the people who are not even aware that while it may seem to be farfetched dream to have a road built leading to their village, thieves in government count their loot by the billions of pesos.
On Wednesday night, I will tell them that President Duterte cares for them and he will deliver his promise of change.
The following day, I will proceed to Bongabong town in Oriental Mindoro and meet with farmers and fisherfolk.
The DA still has some tractors, fishing boats and irrigation water pumps left in its inventory and these will be turned over to the beneficiaries who have already been identified.
To correct the practice in the past of indiscriminate distribution of equipment, the units which will be released to the beneficiaries on July 7 will be geo-tagged and the names of the farmers who will receive these will be included in a data base which DA will keep.
I have also asked the teams preparing for my first rural sortie who make sure that the needed orientation and social preparations for the beneficiaries are conducted.
Many in the DA will certainly need a lot of adjustments to this new style of governance.
But this is the Duterte style. He wants every Filipino to feel that he is part of government and he would like to see that government services are delivered, not promised.
#Change is coming.